Deep River Friends Meeting House in Deep River, Guilford County, NC

The Thornton and Elliott families were among the early Quakers in the area who had migrated from Virginia to Perquimans and Randolph Counties on the east coast of North Carolina to what is now Guilford County, NC. There they (various Quaker families) helped start two (2) new communities - New Garden Meeting House and Deep River Meeting House. The present-day Guilford College in Greensboro is on the site where the New Garden Meeting House and community were located. There the goal of education for their children grew from a small school for the Quaker community into Guilford College. ( ) The Hege Library ( ) on campus houses a large collection of Quaker records for the state of North Carolina. Due to a drought which lasted several years, some of their children and grandchildren moved "west" to start new communities with the hope of a better chance in a different area of the country.

The meeting houses in Deep River and Greensboro are still active with many of our cousins still living around the Deep River area. The Deep River Meeting House and cemetery in High Point (NC), in the past five (5) years, has gone from being in a "rural" area to one surrounded by 4-lane highways, shopping centers, and restaurants - a spiritual "oasis" on a hill amidst the noise and stress of modern life. That's the way that it seemed this past Christmas season (2001) when we visited our cousins and attended a Christmas program one night - a chance to sit in silence for awhile in a candle-lit sanctuary while listening to Christmas music offered by local musicians.

Elias Smith Thornton and Mary Jane Elliot

Elias Smith Thornton, son of Thomas Thornton and Sarah Johnston, was born on Thursday, December 31st, 1829. He died on Monday, March 25th, 1895, and was buried in the Deep River Friends Cemetery, Guilford County, NC.

Mary Jane Elliott, the daughter of Frederick Dawson Elliott and Melinda Parsons, was born in Deep River, NC on Saturday, January 1st, 1842. She died on Tuesday, November 4th, 1913, and was buried in the Deep River Friends Cemetery, Guilford County, NC.

The family of Elias Smith Thornton and Mary Jane "Polly" Elliott

Elias Smith Thornton and Mary Jane Elliott were married at Deep River Meeting House on Sunday, November 27th, 1859. Their children were as follows:

  1. Oscar Fontaine Thornton (1861-1949)
  2. Edward "Edgar" Thornton (1863-?)
  3. Shubal Taylor Thornton (1866-1917)
  4. Laura Thornton (1868-?)
  5. Eugene E. Thornton (1871-1930)
  6. Rosa Baine Thornton (1874-1958)
  7. Frederick Thornton (1877-1971)
  8. Lena Ethel Thornton (1879-1969)

Stories of Elias and Mary Jane Elliott Thornton

Only three (3) of their grandchildren were born before Elias Smith Thornton died in March of 1895, and those were six (6) years of age and under. However, when their grandmother Mary Jane "Polly" Elliott Thornton died on November 4th, 1913, that was long enough for some of them to remember her. Rosa Thornton and her family traveled from Mullins, SC to High Point, NC to the Deep River Meeting House for her funeral.